Health disparities in police officers: comparisons to the U.S. general population

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2011;13(4):211-20.


Police officers have one of the poorest cardiovascular disease (C'D) health profiles of any occupation. The goal of this study was to determine if police officers in the Buffalo Cardio-Metabolic Occupational Police Stress (BCOPS) Study (between 2004 and 2009) had a more adverse CV profile than the general US. employed population. Nearly one-half (46.9%) of the officers worked a non-day shift compared to 9% of U.S. workers. The percent of officers with depression was nearly double (12.0% vs. 6.8%) and officers were nearly four times more likely to sleep less than six hours in a 24-hour period than the general population (33.0% vs. 8.0%). A higher percentage of officers were obese (40.5% vs. 32.1%), had the metabolic syndrome (26.7% vs. 18.7%), and had higher mean serum total cholesterol levels (200.8 mg/dL vs. 193.2 mg/dL) than the comparison employed populations. In addition to having higher levels of traditional CVD risk factors, police officers had higher levels of non-traditional CVD risk factors. These findings highlight the need for expanding the definition of a health disparity to include occupation. Future studies should expand this comparison to additional traditional and non-traditional CVD risk factors and to other occupational groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Police*
  • Risk Factors